Exhibition Dates: 2nd December 2017 – 6th January 2018


Private View: Friday, 1st December 2017, 18:00 - 20:00


Curators: Toufik Douib 

Artist: Anissa Berkane



Strange times are those in which we live.

We have unlimited access to knowledge and information, yet we reject the luxury of taking time to appreciate and understand, sit back and take in, before we carry on and move forward.

However we are facing times where everything runs fast. Everyone is racing at speedy pace and many finish dead last. We microwave, we swallow and we get indigestion from realities that have become more and more biased, corrupted and faked from their context and source. Thus, even if our minds are plural and diverse, they are turned to one-sided view, turned to the worship precepts of some Consumerist-Capitalist-Careless Religion.  

We live in times of propaganda, where the association of words like «Islam = Extremism = Terrorism = Danger = Disaster» has become too often used as shortcut to ready-made theories. This was the starting point for Anissa Berkane, who dedicated her art to instil a more positive reading of the Book. 


Why Dhikr?

Dhikr Pictural inspires to reconnect truthfully with the Self and look beyond the unknown, to eventually reach out to what is Divine. Moreover, this exhibition is an invitation to all senses and different audiences; whether art-lovers, rationale-geeks or spiritually-curious, it leaves no one indifferent as highlighted through ornamental executions, numerical mysteries or metaphysical implications, each of the 19 pieces is very unique, yet indissociable from the rest. The artist took 20 years to bring this project to life, so take your time in enjoying it. 

Throughout a five-week exhibition, Dhikr Pictural will be hosting a rich programme of events that marks a series of season celebrations: Mawlid Ennabawi (Birth of Prophet Mohammed), World Arabic Language Day, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 


About the Artist:

Anissa Berkane is an Algerian visual artist born in 1966. She is a graduate from the Academic school of Fine Arts Society in Algiers. Initially interested in orientalism, the artist soon shifted into non-figurative painting in 2000, to pursue a personal quest through lifelong project ‘Dhikr’; fruit of nearly twenty year of artistic, intellectual and spiritual process. Her 19 paintings take us to a journey of origins to remind us the supreme message of love and tolerance.

Anissa has exhibited on several occasions, nationally and internationally (Berlin, St Tropez – 2007). Dhikr Pictural was shown in Algiers (2015) and Teheran (2016).

“This exhibition is a spiritual invitation made open to everyone regardless of their beliefs. Over all this time spent on researching in the sciences and the mathematical codes of the Holy Book, the Quran, I share my findings in this collection, which I hope will raise discussions throughout many people around the world and challenge perceptions of those who only see terror in this Religion, when its true core is uplifting and blessing.”


Note from the Curator:

Toufik Douib is an independent event director and curator born and bred in Algeria. He is interested in curating projects related to global and intercultural understanding to the question of Algerian and Maghrebi identity within artistic scope.

In parallel to completing a Masters in cultural event management (2014), Toufik has been working on various projects that aim to illustrate the Algerian culture and its rich and complex history. These include collective visual art project ‘Algerianism’ (2015), digital art collection ‘Home-Lend’ (2016) and, more recently, the critically acclaimed ‘Pop Art from North Africa’ (2017). His other contributions comprise production of theatrical music and dance representation ‘The London Algerian Ballet’ (2012-2014), as author for the Wall Street International and ‘DIGI-MENA’, an online mapping research platform (2017).

In “Dhikr Pictural”, Anissa Berkane considers that Religion is not topic that religious men should have monopoly or abstract truth of. The Holy texts are open to interpretation or misinterpretation, by men and women – all sacred texts, not just the Quran. Yet she emphasises that her approach is not to give a religious sermon or lecture on feminism in today’s Arab world. 

Indeed, the contemporary fine artist, who has never studied Theology or Arabic language, uses art to embark us into a cosmic voyage of visual conversation around Islam and the messages enclosed in its Holy Book. Her use of delicate symbols, from decorative patterns to mystic swirls, and gold leaf technique may remind us some of Klimt’s exquisite paintings, though Anissa’s particular style conveys holy inspirations and calls for a mass of emotions, beyond the myriad of interpretations lying beneath each canvas. In reality, the whole series of Dhikr Pictural is a sublime ode to life that addresses a personal dialogue to each of us.   



For further exhibition information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact the gallery: info@p21.org.uk, or Toufik Douib: E-mail: algerianism@gmail.com




Supported by: ONDA, National Copyright Office; LAMARAZ Art-Hotel; COLORSET printing & FADERCO